Here's why the DA is celebrating the reopening of 20 SA land borders

15 February 2021 - 10:20 By cebelihle bhengu
Beitbridge is one of the border posts that will reopen on February 15 2021. File image.
Beitbridge is one of the border posts that will reopen on February 15 2021. File image.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The DA has welcomed the announcement by home affairs that SA will reopen 20 land borders on Monday. The party said this was vital for SA's access to regional markets and criticised the initial closure, saying it was an “ill-informed decision”.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said land borders would be open for the transportation of goods, fuel and medical emergencies, among others, until February 15. This was to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.  

The DA disputed that closures were influenced by a spike in Covid-19 cases. It said this was an attempt by the department to “hide its incompetence” in dealing with high traffic volumes at border posts.

Thousands of travellers endured long queues and spent days stuck in congestion at Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts during the festive season. This was as a result of the government's ramped-up Covid-19 testing protocols to minimise the spread of the virus.

In a statement on Sunday, the DA said: “SA’s land based ports of entry are vital for the country’s access to regional markets. Closing them in the first place was an ill-informed decision. The DA will be monitoring tomorrow’s opening and will hold the minister accountable should there be any repeat of the chaos we witnessed in December.”

The party said home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has an obligation to ensure adequate capacity to enforce traffic and border control protocols once the borders are opened.

The border posts that will reopen on Monday include Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge and Ramatlabama.

Motsoaledi said SA has been in engagement with governments of neighbouring countries. He said preventing and minimising the spread of Covid-19 remains a priority.

He issued a stern warning that travellers who attempt to produce fake Covid-19 tests will be barred from entering SA for at least five years.

“We appeal to travellers to ensure that they have all the requisite travel documents, including valid Covid-19 tests, when they present themselves to officials at our borders.

“Truck drivers should adhere to laws, regulations and agreements in place in the border area. This will go a long way in minimising congestion,” he said.